I’ve had this one brewing in my head since G-uno gets all deep and wants to discuss the meaning of life and our place in it. I tried to ignore it. I tried. It was too damn heavy to deal with for the huge list of crap I needed to get done.
Then as I’m sitting down to whatever-the-hell-I-could-nuke-with-ramen, about to settle in for a mindless session of gaming and forgetting I have any brain matter whatsoever for at least an hour or two before passing out to do it again, I overhear my YouTube-addicted spawn watching a video in which a young fellow who has been alive all of five minutes discusses having an existential crisis. The way he put it was humorous and although I joke, I find it kind of relieving to know that someone so young could embrace such a complex concept and feel it with such depth.
I also find it somewhat laughable that someone who basically does goofy YouTube videos for a living should worry about something like that. Then I realized there was a point in my youth when I used to dwell over the same thing. How to fix the world and society at large. Politics and how to make them make sense. Why am I here? What will the world be like when it is no more? Will human life be able to adapt or will we go much of the way of the dinosaur? Only with our complex addiction to technology, we will be completely aware it is happening before it ever does.
Then I realized why I would dwell on things like that.
I had the fucking time to do so.
I realized that somewhere along the way, my daytime schedule went from:
Noon: wake up, drink 2 pots of coffee, fuck around, call friends
5pm: go visit friends, spend the next 5-10 hours philosophizing about all the ways the world is wrong and how we will change it when we are old enough to make a difference.
Of course, this is not taking school into consideration.
These days, my schedule looks more like:
5 am: Hit the fucking snooze button about 12 times.
6:30 am: finally acknowledge the bastard alarm isn’t going to give up and you have a small person even worse than you to get up.
6:45-7:25 am: scream and bitch for the spawn to get a move on in between getting my own self ready for work
7:25 – 8:45 am: drop spawn off at school and head to work
Somewhere in the midst of this get an epic shitload of paperwork dealt with, prioritize and pay my personal bills. Try to figure out, yet again, how the fuck to whittle away at the huge amount of students loans I still carry, get pissed at the government for being such a bag of dicks and insurance being such shit in this country. Have a minor heart palpitation while I realize I don’t have time for this shit and I really need to schedule a checkup b/c its been 10 years since I’ve last been to see a decent doc without lying about whatever will get me out of there fastest. Worry about the weird sounds the car has been making ever since the catalytic converter has been replaced, even though they said this would no longer be the issue. Mentally commit to trucking it back to mechanic the following weekend, knowing damn well when the prospect of sleeping in looms over me, I’m going to choose it even if the car explodes. Anguish over the bag of important looking mail that I have been pointedly ignoring for the past *cough* years. Remember I need to bitch out that one place for trying to bill me for services that were never rendered. Make a mental note I need to write that other company that they are trying to bill the wrong person with my name as I have never been to this place and have no clue what they do. Try to figure out how I’m going to tackle summer camps for the spawn and how I’m going to organize it to fit in my work schedule. Toy with the idea of pulling spawn out of conventional school and put them into online school like they want… remind myself of every single freaking morning of trying to get said person to do shit unless I’m on top of them. Oh yeah, we’re out of milk, need to pick some up when I leave… and toilet paper….I could use a beer. Wonder if my co-workers are always this prickish or is there some sort of training camp to be both incompetent and indignant all at the same time… can you really not hear how stupid you sound? Deal with the 89th email of the day and finally realize that if I don’t let it go until tomorrow, I won’t get any real work done. Thank god, 2 more stacks of shit finally off my desk… where the fuck did those other three come from? Ugh… think anyone would notice if I start a fire on my desk… I wonder if I could blame the new computer… if I use a few key wires and a battery…
5:15-6:00 pm: eventually leave work
5:30-6:30 pm: pick up spawn and head home…. or if I’m successful into talking myself into acting like motherfucking adult, run errands and then head home. Mentally try to figure out if I can actually finagle a balanced meal out of the leftover Zaxby’s chicken tenders and the single plain Taco Bell burrito which have been in the fridge for god knows how long. Realize that even knowing that my freezer is loaded with healthy chicken, beef and fish is not enough motivation considering I had ZERO foresight in thawing any of it. Finally give up and realize that Little Caesar’s is the way to go. Commit to doing better tomorrow.
8:30 pm: If I’m being a good parent, spawn is going to bed.
9:30 – 10 pm: spawn goes to bed.
10 – ?: Try to decompress by trying to not make any more decisions… this could be from video games; a random browsing on the web, generally starting from something as tame as “color definitions for artists” and end up being a long list of stories about the sexual deviance of artistic types in history; stare at the wall, read comics, read a book if I’m more motivated (hasn’t been in a looong while)
Ass – o – clock: pass out because I simply cannot keep trying to ignore the fact that I have to do this shit again tomorrow and staying awake isn’t going to change that.
So I guess my point is who the fuck has the time anymore to worry about the meaning of life when you have 4,456,487,613,168,874,643 bullshit decisions and thoughts that have to be orchestrated, filed and reacted to every single day?
Do I still have existential crises? Sure.
I go through long periods in which I feel like I failed myself in life, that my story is not one worth telling, that those my age have all done significantly more with their lives and I will end up one of those old people whose dead body is found six months after the fact by some stranger for the most random of reasons. I envy those who seem to get six times what I do done in day. I am in awe of those who just seem to fall into doing things they love and they simply will not accept any less from life. I feel it is a luxury I am not qualified to request.
I realize that human civilization alone is barely a drop of rain in the vast ocean of time just compared to the dinosaurs and their length of time on this planet. That alone is enough to make me realize just how expendable we all are. These huge, varied, monstrous and fantastic creatures who covered every corner of the globe in various forms and subsets were not tough enough for what the planet itself had in store for them and they were pretty much eliminated in a blink of that time. Just cause. We are very weak, little meat-sacks in comparison navigating by the one muscle that we have on every other animal in this kingdom, some of us more than others. But that’s it. I know the sun will die one day, that has been scientifically proven but only estimated as to when. Human beings may have very well have suffered the same fate of the dinosaur by then and some other type of creature may pop up and study us as we do the ones before. Maybe not. Maybe we really are that belligerent. We feed on our planet like locusts, there is no reason to think we wouldn’t adapt to continue to do so, or another. With a vast infinity of space out there that we have barely even begun to understand, the likelihood of there being a livable planet on which to migrate is not only possible, but probable.
I suppose if I was going to pinpoint one thing about my existential crises that I have the most trouble with, I would have to say its the tragedy that comes when we do not remember the right people. Why do we honor a thieving bastard like Edison and Tesla barely gets a blurb? We have hundreds of thousands of truly amazing people in this world who really did do amazing things and they never seem to make it into a textbook or a conversation. Why did I have to find out about my own country putting our own Japanese citizens into camps during the war? Outside of school and many years later? Why did my own history teacher decide perpetrate a degrading rumor about Catherine the Great that was started to belittle her worth while she still lived? Why was I never taught that historically speaking, men and women worked and fought side by side in many areas of civilization? Without all the bullshit gender wars that came much later, or even the ones that are becoming an issue today. Aren’t we supposed to learn from our mistakes? Aren’t we supposed to get better in how we treat one another?
On an even smaller level, no one will ever remember the old woman who lived across the street from my mother and had grown up in my mom’s house when she was a child. She was 92 and still lived independently. She radiated sunshine with every word she spoke. She told my mom how the wine press in the basement was in high use during prohibition and the Greek family across the street had provided the homemade liquor with which they traded. I only ever spoke with her a handful of times and although I’m sure I’m one of many people who will remember her, its not enough. When I pass, those parts of her will go with me. Right now, I cannot even remember her name, just the impression she left behind.
I’ve sort of settled into a small contentedness that my only real legacy will be the offspring I leave behind. If I’ve made my mark on anyone, it probably won’t be that deep and I will fade as many others have before me. I’m ok with that. I also tend to feel I will probably die rather young for this day and age. I’m ok with that too. All I can hope is that, like any good guest, I didn’t destroy too much, unless it needed it, and hopefully made a couple of improvements before moving along.
Addendum: I asked spawn the name of the video for anyone interested. I have to admit, I like the starting image. It speaks to me. Or I’m just sleepy…